Since writing and publishing her first book in 2013, Kristine Raymond has gone on to complete two romance series – one historical western and one contemporary – write an anecdotal, non-fiction short about her first year as an indie author, and try her hand at contemporary erotic drama.
Could you tell us about yourself?
I’m a happily-married (just ask my hubs; he’ll concur), New-England native who now resides in Kentucky with the aforementioned husband and our menagerie of rescued furbabies. In the small window of time when I’m not writing or podcasting or working on some other authory-bookish thing, I’m reading (go figure), baking (usually only in the winter months), or binge-watching Netflix.
Tell us about the “Hidden Springs series”.
Here to Stay, the first book in the series, is the story that launched me into authordom. It takes place in late 1860s Arizona Territory in a fictional town called Hidden Springs and is about Kate Ryan and Sam Mackenzie – a woman with a terrible secret who’s determined to not let anyone get close and the loner cowboy who falls head-over-heels for the pretty brunette and is equally determined to win her over. What’s that? You want to know if they fall in love and live happily ever after? You’ll have to read the book to find out, but don’t worry; it’s free to download from most platforms.
As I was writing Here to Stay, secondary characters emerged in supporting roles to the main ones, and I liked them so much that I decided to give each their own story. That venture took me five years and resulted in nine Hidden Springs books in total; the most recent, Enduring Traditions, releasing a month ago.
When did you first decide to write and what got you started?
The decision to write and publish a book was a spur of the moment decision for me. Aside from some journaling when I was a teenager, I’d never had any ambitions to become an author until a friend of mine was telling me about the book she’d written. The entire process sounded intriguing so I thought I’d give it a try. That was five years and fifteen books ago. Needless to say, I’m hooked!
What is the best part about writing, and the worst?
The best part about writing a story is transforming imaginary worlds into real ones – so to speak. Each character I create, each setting I fashion become real to me and, hopefully, to the reader. There’s magic in the written word if you open your mind and heart to it.
The worst, for me, is when the words don’t come. Some refer to it as writers’ block and some say no such thing exists. All I know is that it’s frustrating to have a story inside of me but the pathway from my brain to my fingertips has a Road Closed sign at both ends.
How has your life experience influenced your writing?
I don’t know that it’s so much an influence as just a natural occurrence, but there’s a bit of me – my personality and experiences – in every story I write. My writing reflects the person I am, and I could no more change that than I could my blood type or nationality.
What’s your favorite genre and why?
I tend to lean toward romance because I believe in happily-ever-afters, though most do not occur without the participants facing and overcoming challenges. It’s in that – the desire to want to spend a lifetime with another person so badly that you’re willing to fight for the chance – that draws me to those types of stories and ultimately leads me to write them.
Where do your characters come from?
Though my characters are fictional, their real-life quirks and personalities are part me, part family, and part friends. You know that saying about authors writing someone they know into a book? I do it all of the time, though names are changed to protect…well…me. 😉
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a cozy mystery, which is a departure from the romance genre I typically write, but the heroine in the story does have a love interest, so there might be a little bit of smooching going on between the pages. Aside from that, I have a million story ideas swimming around inside my head. Okay; maybe not a million. Only 999,999.
Who are your favourite authors? How do they inspire you?
Among my favorites – because there are too many to list – are PJ Tracy, Sandra Brown, Karen Robards, and Linda Howard. I love how they’re able to draw me into their stories; almost to the point where I feel like more than a mere observer.
Ah, to one day be able to write as they do.
What do you look for in other people’s books?
A plot that pulls me in and well-developed characters. To me, both are integral to a good story, and without them, I’ll rarely stick with the book.
You have started a podcast called Word Play with Kristine Raymond, it sounds exciting and I especially like the idea that the conversations include such topics as pets, the weather and Star Trek! Could you tell us a bit more?
I’m always looking for new ways to promote, not only my books but other authors’ as well, and decided to try my hand at podcasting. Word Play with Kristine Raymond gives authors a platform to talk about their writing – or anything else they’d like to share – at the same time affording them a world-wide listening audience. It’s a lot of fun chatting with authors from all over the country, and I recently recorded an episode with an author who lives in the U.K.
While planning out the format, I decided early on to forego the traditional ‘interview-style’; instead, opting for a more relaxed forum – think two friends getting together to chat over a cup of coffee or tea. That’s how the conversations can turn from books to Star Trek to pie – anything goes on my show; within reason, of course.
The episodes are pre-recorded and last approximately 20 minutes. If you’re an author and would like to be on the show, please visit my website to find out more.
On your website you have an amazing section “First Pages”, could you tell us a bit about that?
First Pages is another example of an idea I had to promote authors. I read – on camera – the first few pages of a book I own and publish it on YouTube as a way for interested readers to get a feel for the story and, hopefully, intrigue them enough to buy.
Any fun facts about you that you would like to share?
To me, mushrooms are a food group; I drink hot tea daily – Earl Grey, preferably; and summer or winter, I eschew shoes (unless I’m out in public), but always wear socks.
It has been a pleasure to talk to Kristine today. Thanks for taking the time from your busy schedule to chat. Good luck with your current work.
You can find links to Kristine’s latest release, ‘Enduring Traditions’ and her other work at books 2 read and catch up with her on her website and on social media.